We’ve known from the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy that Simon Pegg [IMDB] could play an everyday schlub, an uptight cop and a washed-up has been. So far, during Peggapalooza!, we’ve also seen him as an eccentric paranoid and right dirty bastard. The man has range! The question here is: can he play a romantic lead?
25 years ago a team of professional filmmakers came together. Actors, directors, cameramen, special effects and sound crews, set dressers and many others. They had a vision. A vision they were willing to sacrifice for. That dream became a mission. A mission they were willing to suffer for. This movie, the result of their sweat, blood and sanity, is the result of that mission.
Most people know Ryan Kwanten [IMDB] from HBO’s “True Blood” [IMDB] where he plays the innocent, slightly dim, sexually charged Jason Stackhouse. On the show he’s the token human among vampires, werewolves, mediums, faeries, shape-shifters, ghosts and witches (yes, that show has gotten damn complicated). He’s the character we can identify with and who exposes our foibles in ways we can understand.
This Australian comedy follows two teens as they graduate high school and decide how to move forward in life. Placid Lake (Ben Lee [IMDB]) is the smart – and smartass – son of Bohemians. Bullied at school and unable to apply his parent’s impractical spiritual advice (it really didn’t help that his mother sent him to primary school in a dress to “challenge expectations of sexuality), he ends up in traction.
Bruce (Chris O’Dowd [IMDB]) is a jerk. A royal douchebag. A super-deluxe, extra-cheese, leather-trimmed, super-sized asshole. He also styles himself a film director and spent most of his life torturing his little brother, Frankie (Charlie Hunnam [IMDB]), on film for his own amusement. After an egotistic meltdown and months in rehab he’s back. Frankie’s having issues of his own. Having recently been left horribly at the altar he’s assumed a self-imposed exile to try and finish his novel. Parental guilt brings him back home to celebrate his brother’s sobriety and things go south from there.
I criticize romantic comedies a lot. Sometimes I fear that I’m too harsh. Then I remember how utterly shitty most of them are and I worry that I’ve been too forgiving. The thing that most of them forget about is that falling in love is supposed to be a good thing. It also has to be the main thing. Opposites attracting are nice; fishes all up and out of water can be interesting and the fine line between love and hate can lead to some entertaining situations. Most rom-coms pluck one of these tropes off the shelf, spend all their time on it and sleep-walk through the rest.
[Hurricane Sandy is currently causing all kinds of hell for all kinds of people. Here in Scranton, PA we’ve still got power and Internet (at least for now). We’re going to watch movies until either Sandy puts a stop to it or we can actually leave the house.]
There’s no way to ignore the elephant in the room here: the premise of this movie is (to be as absolutely forgiving as possible) is as worn as the tissues your grandmother keeps stuffed up her sleeve. On the ranking of archetypical stories it falls someplace at the bottom of the list along with low-rent standards like “dog that thinks it’s people” or “stripper fights crime.”
The poster proudly proclaims that this is from the makers of “Notting Hill” and “Love, Actually”. Aside from the fact that is set in New York rather than London the pedigree is strong. If you liked those films (and why wouldn’t you? they were both great) then you’ll probably like this one.